Bexley council pauses consideration of flooding fixes for research

CHRIS BOURNEA
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ThisWeek group

Bexley City Council has postponed a vote until after its summer recess on legislation that would enable residents to request the city install devices to prevent basement flooding.

Council is delaying its vote to survey residents and gather more research on which areas of the city are most susceptible to flooding, something that occurred after heavy rainfall in March and May, said Richard Sharp, chair of council's service and environmental committee, who introduced Ordinance 25-20 on May 26.

"There are some reports that had been done in the past that need to be cross-referenced," Sharp said at council's June 23 meeting.

"In addition to the resident surveys, those are the things that will be looked at in July so that when we came back in August, we can have an appropriate response to the situations that may have contributed to the flooding."

Ordinance 25-20 states that "on March 20, 2020, and May 19, 2020, central Ohio experienced two significant flood events that surged sanitary and storm sewers throughout the region. During periods of heavy precipitation, rain water can enter into the sanitary sewer system, causing it to become overwhelmed."

It also states that because Bexley's sanitary sewer system is connected to the city of Columbus' system, "regardless of improvements made within the city of Bexley, the city will still be impacted by surges experienced in upstream and downstream sanitary lines within connecting Columbus infrastructure."

To address this issue, the ordinance, if approved, would allow residents who experienced a "water in basement" incident on or after Jan. 1, 2020, due to a backup in the sanitary sewer system to apply to the city for installation of a backflow-prevention device.

If the city approves an application, the city would cover up to $2,000 and no more than 80% of the total cost of installation, according to the legislation's current draft.

Mayor Ben Kessler said the city was scheduled to mail out a detailed survey about flooding to residents in late June.

He said the city would post the survey on the city's website, bexley.org, and in the Bexley Blast, the city's weekly email newsletter.

"We'll be analyzing all the information from that pretty closely," he said.

"We're hoping to regroup early to mid-July with that data to make sure we're taking an intelligent look at this."

Andy Bashore, the city's service director, said his department is reviewing a previous survey that was posted in the Bexley Blast. He also is encouraging residents to fill out the more detailed survey.

"We have not gotten the mass quantity that we're hoping for in the very near future," he said.

For more information, go to bexley.org.

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